Day 8: 50 Days of Passion

We have people in life that just don’t like us. They don’t like the look of us, the way we act or what we believe. They are either jealous or for some reason we have just never connected. This can happen in your church, this can happen with other believers, this can happen to us.

 

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, Philippians 1:15-18

 

Paul wasn’t in total isolation when he was in jail. From accounts he wasn’t a considered a dangerous criminal and most likely had visitors or at least letters telling him the churches and places he had been. How else would he have heard of those teaching out of envy and rivalry?

Human nature has become a lifestyle where you have to outdo the other person to get a head. This thought pattern creates that envy and rivalry that Paul is talking about here. If their church has 100 seats, mine will have 200. If they send money to missions will send more. There bringing in this special speaker, will bring this better one.

Paul here takes a different view on it, he almost shrugs it off and says ‘whatever’. He knows that at least at the end of the day Christ is being preached. What could Paul do to change the motives of man? That change is something the Holy Spirit can do but not us.

So, we see Paul here telling us to rejoice that Christ is being preached. Not to get caught up in trying to fix their issues. All to often we get caught up in trying to fix their issues, point out their problems, spend hours talking about it or joining them by ‘fighting’ back. Maybe instead of doing all this we need to take an approach like Paul. Rejoice.

We need to rejoice when other churches are reaching the lost, we need to rejoice an be encouraged that no matter the motives Christ is preached. Pray for those churches that God will keep working in them. He will show them the change they need, not our job to fix them.

Do you want to see your passion flourish? Start praying for the whole Church. We are the body of Christ; all parts are important. Let’s pray that God is preached in the whole body.

Father, we pray today for the Whole body of believers. God we have separated into different circles of believers but we all belong to your Church. Although we may have different viewpoints we pray that they be continuing to preach the love of Christ. Help us not to get caught up in pettiness and become more loving to all our family, rejoicing when Christ is preached and people saved. Ignite our passion help us to grow in you, Amen

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Day 49: 50 Days of Impact

Ever put together something with instructions in hand. Do you read them or do you let your pride take over and try to go at it without? Or maybe you skim over and only take our what you feel is necessary to get the job done. Doing things out of sequence will never result in a properly assembled piece of furniture.

Many have done the same in their approach to faith in Jesus, and Christianity. The think they know what to do yet they are missing a vital step. Some believe that if they do enough good things then Jesus will accept them. Others, all I need to do is call out to Jesus, give him my life, then go on living however I want.

 

“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”

James 2:26 NLT

 

Faith must come first. Good deeds come as a result of faith. Because of the gift of God, life, we want to share that with others. Like a plant who grows and gives off seeds can only do so if it is first alive. A dead plant can’t give off seed.

 

There are faith groups that believe if you do enough good you will cancel out the bad, which may or may not depending on the gods mood on the issue get you to the afterlife. There is no hope that doing good will actually get you where you need to go, but it couldn’t hurt were doing good right?

 

As believers in Jesus we don’t need to do good works to get to heaven. The reason we do good works is because we are going to heaven, it is an outpouring of gratitude for what we have been given. We desire to share the hope and joy that we have been given to all mankind.

 

What are we doing to express our faith to the world? I might also add good works without prayer is like trying to drive your car without any gasoline. You don’t get far, not very effective. Might look nice on the outside but no oomph to keep going the distance.

 

So, have you accepted Jesus as your saviour? Have faith in his everlasting promise of life? Then are you doing good works? If not then you need to find a church that will use you. Ask them how God can use you in the church. You are important and play a special role in reaching lost people. Be an effective Christian. Being a Christian isn’t only about accepting Christ, it is about changing your life and moving toward in a relationship with him. Repentance is about doing a 180 degree turn and leaving the areas that will bring you back into sin. And one sure fire way to keep on track is getting involved in kingdom work.

 

Jesus, if any readers aren’t active in kingdom work I pray today that you will put a burning passion on their heart to get involved. Show them an area where they can be used, however it may be. Bring them in to not only strengthen their faith but to provide them with the joy of doing good works. We know there is no retired or reserve Christians. We are all to be active in reaching the lost. Holy Spirit encourage us daily to be working towards this goal. Amen

 

Day 41: 50 Days of Impact

The global Church is made up of many groups of churches. All those who have accepted Jesus salvation call and are living for Him are part of this global Church. Jesus told his disciples and ultimately us that we are to go and share his story, making disciples of the entire world. I wonder what it would have been like if Jesus had added “and keep track of who you have reached, he who has the most disciples’ wins.” But he didn’t and nor should we live in our churches like that, we should be living like the disciples did working together to reach the lost.

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”

1 Corinthians 3:7-9 NLT

Sometimes believers who are part of a denomination become consumed with reaching people not just for Jesus, but only to grow their church. But the bible doesn’t really get into denominations, that is a man-made thing where along the way minor things have created different flavours of churches. But we as believers in Christ need to understand that we are all one body, no matter what label or church we attach ourselves to, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what label a new believer attaches or church they start attending, as long as they have a relationship with Jesus.  The reward is given for the hard work of reaching the lost.

We as believers need to break these lines that a lot of the time separate us. We need to start working together as not to ” reinvent the wheel”. Partnering with other churches or organizations that are working in our communities will help strengthen them and us.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

We are better together. Think about the impact we can make when we work together.

Jesus, help us as believers to work together no matter what denominational label we give ourselves. Let your command to reach the lost be our binding inspiration. Let us become a community of believers with one focus. We know they matter to you, so we will work together because they matter to us too. Amen

S

Day 29: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 29: We sometimes wonder how on earth the Jews were supposed to follow all the decrees and laws that were put in place. To make matters worse they kept adding to them and making them even more unattainable. The purpose of all those laws wasn’t meant to have them fulfil them all but to put their trust in a God who would love them. Jesus turned that all in and said love God, love your neighbour, accept my sacrifice and work at telling others about me. Are you focused on rules or are you working on your relationship with God and reaching others?

 

DAY TWENTY-NINE

If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47 NIV)

There are some who believe that the Old Testament is irrelevant and not required for Christian living. I make the case that even Jesus knew the Old Testament scriptures were a valued part of His ministry.

In the above verse, for example, Jesus was explaining to the people that if they couldn’t believe the teachings of Moses how were they going to grasp His.

The OT is filled with lots of life lessons, and we do see all the laws that seem overwhelming that were given to the Jews. God gave those to His chosen people to help them to be set apart from the normal. If they lived a lifestyle that God had shown them they would have never been defeated so many times. Their health would have been amazing, their love life with their wives would have been the envy of every outside man. They (and I can only assume this) would have become the greatest nation on earth and would still be around today.

But they didn’t, so Jesus said if You can’t even follow the teachings of Moses, how are you going to follow mine?

Pick up the bible, study a book of the OT, dig deep and see what truths you can find that lead you to Jesus. Apply them to your life and grow.

Dear Jesus, your whole word is important to us. Help me to take time daily reading your scriptures, I ask You to reveal Yourself to me in everything I read.
Amen

Day 23: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 23: Remember the saying “like a man who looks in a mirror, turns away and forgets what he looks like” This is what is happening in our churches. We see what needs to happen yet when we leave the church or meeting we go back to living as we always have. It is time for us to become the people God intended, we need to get to the mission of reaching the lost as Jesus asked us to.

7 March 15

  DAY TWENTY-THREE

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1:22-24 MSG)

I feel this verse sums up today “Christian” culture. We go to church on Sunday, are moved by the worship, touched by the sermon, but if you were to ask us what happened on Monday, we would be hard-pressed to tell you what the sermon was about. Now not everyone is like this.

How often do we actually put into practice what we hear God speak to us about on Sunday? Do we make a valid effort to apply the newfound commitment to purity or was it just a “because I was there” decision?

Three ideas I have to help you stop being just listeners but to work on applying truths into your life.

1) write down the commitment you have made. maybe you have a running list of commitments. Don’t be ashamed of this commitment. Place it in a place that is visible, not only to yourself but for others, saying “if you visit me I am not afraid for you to ask how this list is going.”

2) use the tools available to you to keep yourself on track. If your commitment is to share the love of Christ, but you for some reason are stuck in the house, use FB or Twitter to share Gods love.

3) keep connected with fellow believers. Keeping connected will help motivate you to follow through with your commitments as your friends will challenge you in your faith.

Dear Jesus, enough is enough, we spend too many Sunday’s at church listening then forgetting what we were challenged to do when our feet hit the floor Monday morning. Help us to become doers and act on what we hear, let us not forget who we are. Amen

Day 3: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

 

Day 3 Thoughts

My original thoughts for 50 Days of Pray was to get some outside help from other leaders and ministry leader. I believe I had two actually submissions and a few interested but I understand the busy lives these hard working people have. I hope you enjoy Pastor Mike Millers entry for today. I added a prayer as well.

Today’s Devotional is brought to us by Pastor Mike Miller who Worked at the Rock Church in Lwr Sackville NS. Mike has been busy in launching Nova Church in Halifax NS.

Battle over the Balcony
Why do leaders at the pinnacle of success seem to derail themselves? Rob Ford has become the punch line to every late night TV joke but at one time he had goals and dreams too…what happened?

Bad news gets around the world before good news gets it’s boots on!
This past year there have been a lot of texts, calls, tweets and chats sharing bad news involving moral failures it seems.
Many have involved dear friends or people I don’t know yet respect highly and in either case, my first response has always been one of grief. If you are looking for judgement this isn’t the place, I agree their actions were wrong but they know it and are reminded daily as they rebuild their lives and families.

I’ve been thinking a lot about WHY these things happen and hope to learn, strengthen and provoke myself in the process.

2 Samuel 11 has helped me process this. This is the story where King David should be out at war on the battlefield but instead stays home on the balcony where he sees Bathsheba commits adultery with her and eventually kills her husband.

How did this history making legend go from being on top of the world to his world falling apart

Few things I know

1.Your victories yesterday don’t promise you legacy tomorrow.
David was the same guy he always was. The Same guy who killed a lion and a bear, same guy who pushed past a father who undervalued him to say “is there not a cause?” the same guy who challenged the giants of his day that mocked his faith and persecuted his nation.

2. Timing is everything
“There is not only a right thing to do but a right time to do it” – Abraham Lincoln
2 Samuel 11 vs 1 ” It happened in the spring of the year at the time when kings go out to battle….but David remained in Jerusalem”
The spring time was the fighting season! The season before was rainy which caused impossible conditions for chariots to move in the mud and flash floods washed out roads, the season after was the harvest time which demanded every man to work fields to feed their family and keep the country going. The spring was THE time to fight.

3. When fatigue walks in faith walks out
Vs 2 “David arose from his bed”. It doesn’t say why David didn’t go fight but one would think that decades of fighting, training, being under insecure and violent leadership and then leading a nation himself has to have wore him down. We must learn to rest and withdraw without going AWOL or isolating

4. More leaders are destroyed on the balconies than any battlefield
Psalm 127:4 ” Like arrows in the hand of a warrior so are the children of ones youth” We like arrows are meant to be aimed not stored, to be launched not to lounge. To do anything other than your purpose will frustrate you.
Where have to shelved yourself? Don’t let your leaders or family fight your battle in prayer

5. God takes a mess and makes a message
God still chose to birth His Son through David’s name and legacy, He wasn’t done with David and He isn’t done with you!

Today I choose the battle over the balcony and I pray you do too!

 

Father, we thank you that you are always with us and ready to help us through the mess of this life. I pray that you will keep us away from distractions that will lead us into temptation. Keep us focused on the mission of reaching the lost. Holy Spirit guide us in wisdom and opportunities. The people of this world matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

Day 47: 50 Days of Change

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is hard to fathom why one who has a relationship with God would replace him with something else. But we hear of believers, elders and even leaders walking away from him all the time. One might make the assumption that these believers never truly believed, as some have the notion that salvation cannot be discarded. What has truly happened is these folks have given up their relationship. Somewhere along the line sin got a hold inside and slowly but surely took them down a path away from God. 

God didn’t abandon them, he didn’t leave them, but at some point they left him. They pushed aside the truth and the counsel of the Holy Spirit for an idea that what te wanted was right and for them. One of the startiling things that I see is leaders who drop out of leadership not only abandoning their church but in many case leaving their spouses. This is so heartbreaking as it can be a domino effect on those who admire and have been mentored by these leaders. They should know better but we don’t know what is going on in their lives and hearts.

This is where we as believers are failing each other. If we were more involved in each other’s lives personally we would become more intune to our brothers and sisters needs and troubles. Maybe we would be able to see things in the early stages and cut them off before they decide to walk away from God completely. It would be so much easier if we knew what was going to happen with a time machine, but we pray and hope that the issues we resolve early will allievate any big mistakes down the road. Ultimatly it is between the person and God, but he can and will use us to build each other up, like iron sharpening iron. 

This could be you, you maybe testing the waters of sin and not sure where the undertow is. But if your testing one day it will pull you under. I beg of you ask for help, cry out to God to pull you out now, send brothers and sisters of the faith to help you through this time of confusion. We need to ask for help, push past our pride, se that we are failing and need assistance. What we do with our lives as believers does not only affect us. It affect all around us, don’t be fooled that it’s my life and what I do doesn’t affect others.

Father, if anyone reading this is tempting their relationship with you by flirting with sin, I pray that right now you will show them the consiquences of their actions. Holy Spirit surround them with believers who will hold them accountable in love, building them up and loving them. It is not to late for them to cry out for forgiveness and change their behaviour, let them se that their actions affect others. God we ask that we will be used by you to reach others who may not know you at all or maybe did but have replaced you with something else. Give us the words to speak and wisdom to share with them your love. They matter you you God so they matter to us, amen.